The Long Night

Ernst Israel Bornstein, trans. from the German by Noemie Lopian and David Arnold. Toby, $14.95 trade paper (254p) ISBN 978-1-59264-440-7
Even readers who believe that they have read enough recollections of Holocaust survivors are likely to be moved by Bornstein's unbelievable story of survival. At the age of 19, he was sent to a concentration camp, and within four years, he had spent time at 12 different ones. The narrative begins when the title's "long night" does: in 1939, as Bornstein and his family flee their Polish village just as the Germans begin the invasion of Poland. He manages to escape selection for the labor camps for a while, but eventually his luck runs out and he and his father are sent to the Grunheide Forced Labor Camp. To the small extent possible, Bornstein's father shares his food and does whatever he can to ease Bornstein's torment, sacrifices that make their eventual separation all the more poignant. Those deprivations are but a grim prologue to Bornstein's later experiences, which reach their nadir when he is assigned to transport corpses to the crematorium. Bornstein's simple writing style, in this fine translation from Lopian and Arnold, makes his testimony of man's inhumanity to man all the more powerful. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2016
Release date: 01/01/2016
Genre: Religion
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